Nara, ancient capitals of Japan, has a lot of ruins, ancient tombs (9,600 units in Nara Prefecture) and cultural assets. These archaeological heritages, testify the beginning of Japan, and are interesting.These archaeological heritages, testify the beginning of Japan, and are interesting not only for Japanese but also for foreign tourists visiting Japan.
However, aside from well-known shrines and temples, most ruins and tombs (kofuns in Japanese) are currently not being recognized as sightseeing spots. Therefore, utilizing Nara’s archaeological sites as tourism resources is highly required.
Generally, the activities conducted by the national and local governments are necessary for that utilization, but since the government movements usually take time, it is desirable to start with the private sector. The Nara Kofun & Heritage Foundation was established to promote the movements by the Nara citizens.
Archaeological tours, such as visiting historical sites and tombs, are popular in Europe, the Middle East, Southeast Asia and South America, but are not much popular in Japan. Especially for foreign tourists, Japan’s tombs and ruins are almost completely in a twilight zone.
As mentioned above, those historical sites in Nara are very important for understanding the beginning of Japan. Therefore, we are introducing a way to make archaeological tours interesting by telling mythologies, ancient politics and culture of Japan.
We have been developing a travel guide application “Nara Kofun & Heritage Tours (a.k.a. Nara Historical Monuments and Tours)” that runs on smartphones which enables travelers from outside Nara and foreigners visiting Japan easily to visit the ruins and ancient tombs and enjoy virtual images of past buildings and related personnel.
The application makes Nara an attractive destination for travelers from around the world.
The Foundation is also currently organizing a lot of activities as well as improving our kofun software, including soliciting donations and publicizing activities to the world to help preserving important historical culture and archaeological heritages of Nara.
Leading civilian activities based on developing a smartphone software in order to respond to needs of foreign tourists visiting Nara’s archaeological heritage
These days, you often see foreign tourists in some archaeological monuments of Nara. However, signs at train stations, museums, famous temples and shrines are written in foreign languages as well as Japanese, but foreign tourists experience difficulties to find and visit most ancient tombs and archaeological monuments of Nara.
To overcome such situations, the Foundation provides a travel guide software which enables foreign travelers to visit and enjoy ruins and ancient tombs of Nara in English by themselves.